Friday, August 01, 2008

FBO: 'Acknowledges Dean Reed'

Coloradoan Dean Reed began his pop career(s) imitating Elvis -- simple, non-confrontational songs about young ladies and (his) broken hearts. Unlike most stars of his era, he bought into the '60s, big-time, becoming an out-spoken critic of the US and, eventually, an all-out Marxist known as the 'Red Elvis.'

This guy is classic. When his US career started to fade, he got huge in Chile with love songs re-recorded songs in Spanish, did live albums in Montevideo, did the soundtrack for 'Zorro', then moved to East Germany and re-recorded them in German, starred in East German cowboy films, then went on a cheerful trip in 1979 through a befuddled Soviet Union, including a 19-day tour of the BAM train line -- the less-heralded train trip that runs to the north of the Trans-Siberian (a few years later, Gorbachev blamed the 'stagnation' of the entire USSR economy solely on this train line to nowhere).

(The FBO's recent symposium to Russia included several trips along the BAM, including its terminus at Soviet Harbor.)

The following link, from a 1979 Soviet film on Dean Reed, is for 'This Train,' about the BAM. It should be noted regarding his lyric 'this train don't carry no white an black, every body ride it is treated just alike' that Dean Reed, a foreigner, would have had to pay foreign prices to be on it:

Song titles include: 'BAM,' 'American Rebel,' 'Wake Up America,' 'Love Your Brothers, Hate Your Enemies,' a politically incorrect 'Wounded Knee 73' (with 'Native American chanting). As well as the following, unbelievable version 'Give Peace a Chance.'


An album featuring a cover of the pop song 'If You Go Away' (If you go away/On this summer's day/Then you might as well take the sun away') featured a painting of Vladimir Lenin. He recorded songs of Bulgarian folk songs.

At 47, a few years after the BAM tour, he was found drowned in East Germany. Many believe it was murder. Tom Hanks does too -- he bought the rights for a Dean Reed film a couple years ago.

More information, and free MP3s, is available from the all-time-great website

The FBO acknowledges Dean Reed.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY


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